Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Team Principal Jari-Matti Latvala is “confident” that his world
championship-leading squad can “handle” the pressure on this week’s Arctic Rally Finland
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Finn Latvala, a winner of 18 WRC events, is in his second month at the head of the Toyota
team, which was founded in Finland by the country’s legendary four-time World Rally
champion Tommi Mäkinen prior to the 2017 season.
Latvala’s tenure began with a one-two result on the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo last
month, which has handed Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT a 22-point lead over Hyundai Shell
Mobis World Rally Team in the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers.
Speaking ahead of the Rovaniemi-based Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox,
Latvala said: “Our result on Rallye Monte-Carlo was a very special start to the season and I
was really happy to see how well the team was working together. Now, we’re looking to
the first ever Arctic Rally Finland.”
Latvala has limited experience of competing in Lapland, his one and only Arctic Lapland
Rally appearance coming in 2006 when he crashed out of third place in the closing stages
aboard a Toyota Corolla WRC.
“What’s typical in Lapland are very long, fast corners where you can lose a lot of time if
you’re not feeling confident, so the stability of the car is very important,” Latvala said. “For
us, there will probably be a bit more pressure than usual because it’s a home event and our
car has been developed on Finnish roads with these kind of conditions. But I’m confident
that we can handle it.”
Latvala also took time out of his team’s Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox
preparations to praise the work of the various organisations whose efforts have ensured the
second round of 2021 WRC is going ahead from February 26-28.
“Over the years there has been a lot of talk about how great the event could be as a WRC
round with the guaranteed snow,” said Latvala, whose first WRC victory was on the snow-
based Rally Sweden in 2008. “This year the opportunity has suddenly come up and
everyone involved has done a great job to make it happen in a very short space of time. I’m
sure it will look fantastic on television with the pure white snow and the sun shining.”
Latvala will oversee a four-strong Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT line-up on Arctic Rally Finland
Powered by CapitalBox. The four Pirelli-equipped Toyota Yaris WRCs are being crewed by
world champions Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia, last year’s runners-up Elfyn Evans/Scott
Martin, young Finnish talents Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen, plus Takamoto